The Story Behind the First Mickey Mouse Plush Toys

Among the most popular Walt Disney World souvenirs are the plush toys, with a wide variety of huggable characters available for purchase in gift shops all across the Resort. However, the history of such Disney toys goes back much further than the opening of the company’s theme parks. For Disney’s Hollywood Studios guests who want to get a look back at how it all began, including these Mickey and Minnie plush from the 1930’s, a trip to “Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream” is in order. The exhibits inside this attraction, located near the entrance of Pixar Place, showcase props, models, and memorabilia dating from Walt’s childhood all the way to The Walt Disney Company’s most recent blockbusters, and that includes the history of Disney merchandise.

The first Mickey Mouse plush toys were introduced in 1930 and, despite The Great Depression that the country was going through at the time, were such a success upon hitting store shelves that the toys were selling out faster than they could be made. These initial dolls were designed by a seamstress named Charlotte Clark with the assistance of her teenage nephew, Bob Clampett. A few years later, Clampett would join the animation business himself, first as an animator and director of “Looney Tunes” cartoons at Warner Bros. and later going on to create the popular “Beany and Cecil” TV series. While these vintage toys may look very different from the plush now on sale in the the park’s shops, Clark and Clampett’s designs set the standard for generations of Disney toys to follow and continue to be prized by collectors and Disneyana enthusiasts to this day.

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